Londoners, starting today, will be able to take advantage of free public transport thanks to a new promotion by MasterCard that aims to raise adoption of Apple Pay.
The promotion, called "Free Fare Mondays," launched today (Nov. 23) and runs through to Dec. 14, 2015. It’s available in London only, and allows Apple Pay users to have up to £27.90 in transport fares refunded each and every Monday. You’ll need to have performed an NFC ("contactless") transaction with your MasterCard in Apple Pay in order to qualify for the refund, and you’ll also need to have travelled on either the London Underground, London Overground, a bus, tram, DLR, or using a National Rail service (in London, of course).
In a recent press release, Mark Barrett (president of MasterCard UK&I) said:
The move by TfL last year to accept contactless cards and devices on London Underground has been a phenomenal catalyst to the growth in contactless payments across the UK. Now that Apple Pay has arrived we want to encourage travellers on London’s transport network to try it out and give them another convenient option to pay for their travel. What better way to do this, than to offer MasterCard customers using Apple Pay the chance to travel for free over the next four consecutive Mondays.
Indeed, adding a card to Apple Pay couldn’t be easier: you can do so using your iPhone’s built-in camera, and the whole process should take no more than a minute or so. Moreover, a large (and growing) number of card issuers in Britain are offering support for Apple Pay.
As a Brit living in Manchester (rather than London), I’m seeing a slow increase in Apple Pay adoption among the general public, though I’d imagine a large number of iPhone 6 and 6s users (not to mention Apple Watch wearers) have yet to activate the feature. Part of this is due to the fact that Barclays, one of the country’s biggest and most historic banks, has yet to offer support for the service.
The good news today is that MasterCard’s promotion is bound to get more folks making Apple Pay payments with their iPhones and Apple Watches. It’ll be interesting to see if the move has any lasting impact on Apple Pay adoption in London, or even across the country.